Hostile deals in tech just don’t work
Broadcom extended its tender offer for Emulex shares yet again this morning, after less than 3 percent of shareholders turned in their shares to avail of the hostile, $764 million buyout offer. If anyone’s wondering which way this deal is headed, maybe a look at the fate of unwelcome tech bids in recent memory will provide a clue. In no particular order:
- Microsoft-Yahoo: Microsoft kicked off 2008 with one of the tech industry’s biggest buyout offers — its unsolicited $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo. It even raised it to $47.5 billion before pulling away because Yahoo just didn’t want to sell.
- Electronic Arts-Take Two: EA offered about $2 billion to buy its rival, Grand Theft Auto videogame publisher Take Two and made a tender offer that it extended a few times before dropping the bid.
- Cadence-Mentor: Cadence offered $1.5 billion, unsolicited, to buy Mentor Graphics, and then withdrew its bid citing difficulty in financing.
- Vishay-IRF: Vishay Intertechnology withdrew its $1.7 billion bid for International Rectifier in October, saying the pursuit was futile given IRF’s refusal to engage in talks.
- Samsung Electronics-SanDisk: The Korean electronics giant offered $5.9 billion to buy SanDisk, but the flash memory maker wanted much more. Samsung eventually dropped its pursuit, citing the economy.
- Microchip and ON Semiconductor-Atmel: Chipmakers Microchip and ON Semi made a joint $2.3 billion bid for Atmel, which it rejected. ON Semi had trouble securing financing to fund its part of the deal. Eventually, the two companies dropped their bid.
- United Technologies-Diebold: United Techologies offered $2.6 billion for Diebold and kept its unsolicited offer on the table for eight months before giving up.
I might have missed a couple more, but you get the idea. Hostile deals don’t seem to work in tech, despite all that people said when Oracle succeeded in buying BEA two years ago. Does the adage about assets, i.e. engineers, walking out the door in hostile situations still apply? Or are there other reasons, such as cultural fit, that cause a lot of resistance among target companies in techland?